Spring vegetable colors can hint at what nutrients are inside

What vegetables have more vitamins? Learn the answer and why color matters.

The bright colors of spring have arrived and soon will be dulling due to the hot days of summer. The greens of grass, leaves and vegetation are as vivid as they will be all year. Spring edible wild foods are vivid and bright in the woods and foods that are harvested from there have a higher nutritional value than produce in the grocery. In vegetable gardens, asparagus and early lettuces are ready to harvest. Green leafy and orange-to-red colored vegetables are the most vitamin fortified vegetables and therefore the ones we should eat the most.

Vegetables are low in calories and fats but contain good amounts of vitamins and minerals. All the green and orange vegetables are rich sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, vitamin B-complex, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K. Vegetables are home to many antioxidants. These health benefiting phyto-chemical compounds help protect the human body from oxidant stress, diseases, and cancers while also helping the body boost its immunities. Red and orange fruits and vegetables are among the highest in vitamin C. A half cup serving of red bell pepper provides 95 milligrams of vitamin C, which is about 25 milligrams more than a medium orange.

Try growing leaf lettuces and greens in containers and enjoy the convenience, freshness, nutritional benefits and the savings! A pack of seed cost less than three dollars and will provide you more than enough greens all summer. The trick is to cut the leaves rather than pulling the entire plant. The leaves will grow back within a few weeks. Plant seeds in a container and place in full to part-shade area on your porch or in your yard.

Enjoy the growing season and put some color on your plates and into your body. Let the sunlight brighten your food and your mood. Those rich colors provide the nutrients we need to keep our mind and our mood bright.  Need help planning nutritious colorful, flavorful meals or want some recipe ideas? Visit Michigan State University Extension’s website to peruse nutrition education series around the state for adults, families and seniors.

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